I have a very random selection of skills and careers in my repertoire, which you’d be hard-pressed to find any continuity between. But with some perspective, it has all tied together uncannily to assist me today in my present career as an entrepreneur and freelance writer.
Here’s my journey, and collection of random skills that assist me today in stoking my passions:
Piano = Typing
My musical background includes being a concert pianist at a young age, touring China with a ballet as the flautist (at 16), and more. One of the learned skills of a pianist is that of creating muscle memory in the fingers.
Thus, my knowledge of a computer keyboard and muscle memory is strong enough that I can type at a ridiculously fast pace while simultaneously having a conversation with somebody in the room. (I can, but I don’t – unless I’m being an ass and showing off.)
Singing/Performing = Speaking
Between dancing, singing, acting, and musical instruments, I’ve been performing in one capacity or another since I was three years old. In my financial planning days, I parlayed these skills into addressing audiences as large as 3,000 people.
Today, my performance experience serves me in creating (hopefully) entertaining videos, and speaking to groups about full-time travel.
Television Production = Video Blogging
Not only was I in front of cameras, but I’ve worked behind them too (I lucked into it through a co-op class in high school). I have experience at a few television stations and shows, and a even a short stint running a studio for high-school co-ops.
The shooting and editing skills I learned are regularly applied in my own videos.
Property Management = Admin & Computer Skills
I tend to refer to my three or so years in property management as my “blue period”, but there’s no denying the fact that my humble beginnings as a temp in an operations office (progressing to assistant property manager, overseeing multiple residential/commercial/industrial properties) served me well in terms of acquiring administrative and computer skills. (And a general appreciation of ductwork).
Financial Planning = Sales & Business Skills
Armed with an innate ability to save and manage money along with my administrative skills (and a few dozen acquired licenses and courses), I took a leap into starting a financial planning practice. I worked under the umbrella of Investors Group (Canada’s largest financial planning company), who provided some of the most valuable skills and training I could have hoped for.
I had to hustle for clients, which taught me the finer mechanics of sales – which now assists me to create inspirational posts, and write compelling pitches to editors.
And in managing my practice with hundreds of clients and millions of dollars at stake, I learned the same business skills that now help me to create a vision for The Professional Hobo, plan my business activities, manage my time and clients, and more.
Financial Planning = Finance/Lifestyle Design Niche
When I worked with my clients, I focused less on investments and numbers, and more on what they wanted out of life, redefining their relationships with money, and engineering their finances to help them create the lives of their dreams.
I parlayed this financial planning expertise into writing about the finance of travel and its complexities (this week marks my 100th Financial Travel Tip!). My focus on lifestyle design is not only based on my personal experience of selling everything to travel, but I draw on the experiences of those I touched (and who touched me) from my financial planning days.
Financial Planning = Coaching
In working with clients on their personal finances as well as the more esoteric topics above, a lot of other issues tended to come out. I was part financial planner, part coach, part mother, part sister, part friend, even part therapist.
This has aided me in the coaching services I’m in the process of structuring to help people embrace their own dreams of full-time financially sustainable travel.
Media Training = Interviews and Hot Seat Experiences
As my financial planning practice grew, I made appearances on tv, gave interviews for major newspapers and radio stations, and provided training resources and sessions. Thus, I took a special media training course, which has served me invaluably in so many ways.
In my writing, the ability to construct a concise key message and support it is important. But also, in various interviews, panel discussions, and like appearances, I know how to have a cool head and get the message across when I’m in the hot seat.
And I’ve ended up in the news a few times since becoming The Professional Hobo:
- A CBC news crew flew in to Chiang Mai to cover my humanitarian efforts after Cyclone Nargis
- I appeared as a travel expert on an episode of Alive, shot in New Zealand
- And I appeared live on CTV’s Canada AM to talk about my lifestyle and the release of my first book
Birth = Entrepreneurial Mindset?
Both of my parents are freelance musicians, so the concept of working for myself came quite naturally to me. I never really worried about the feast-or-famine quandaries that freelancing and business can hold; thus I put that extra energy into getting ahead. It’s probably what helped me jump confidently from career to career in the early years, and ultimately to becoming something of a pioneer in a new industry in later years.
I am sure that entrepreneurial skills can be learned and mastered, but I do wonder if some people are simply predisposed to being entrepreneurs.
Career Exploration Isn’t Bad
Through my 20s, I was chastised for my lack of commitment to any given career or skill. I picked up something, I mastered it (to varying extents), and then I dropped it when it didn’t feel right any more (or when a better opportunity came along). It has contributed to the dizzying amount of life experiences I’ve garnered, but it goes against the norm in many ways – as I was reminded of regularly.
But I didn’t care enough to change my ways. I was exploring. Life is too short to rope yourself into something you don’t really want to do, if you have the willingness and ability to try new things. I didn’t go to university, and I view much of the knowledge I garnered from working in its stead as my “education”.
I couldn’t be happier with how it all panned out, and how such a random collection of skills has woven together to create my current career, stoke my passions, and create the mosaic that is…me.
What’s in your mosaic?